Cambridge, Ma., City Manager Robert Healy and Police Commissioner Robert Haas heard angry criticism from City Council members and the public over a report from a committee of outside experts on the 2009 arrest of Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates, the Boston Globe reported. Council member Marjorie Decker said the council was largely ignored by the panel of 12 academics and law enforcement personnel who examined the incident. Gates, who is black, was arrested by a white police officer after a woman called 911 to report a break-in. It turned out that Gates lived at the house and was simply struggling with a stubborn lock damaged in a previous break-in attempt.
The report said both Gates and the officer missed opportunities to de-escalate the tension, that they share responsibility for the controversial arrest, and that the dispute was avoidable. Council members said the $100,000 report did not address the issues of race relations and a citizen's rights to question police. “Frankly, I thought the report was trying too hard to convince us that we should all join hands and have a 'Kumbaya' moment, instead of really taking the bold steps to address something that was traumatic to a lot of people,'' said Council member Leland Cheung. Said member Kenneth Reeves: “I don't know how they could discuss this incident and not mention race.'